Recovery is funded by a mix of federal and state resources.
They include funds approved by the governor, state Legislature, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and Federal Emergency Management Agency.
For a full list of resources, visit the recovery funding page.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) provides Community Development Block Grant-Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) funds to help communities recover from natural disasters.
CDBG-DR approved projects support disaster relief, long-term recovery, restoration of infrastructure, housing and economic revitalization. CDBG-DR funds can also be used to match other federal program allocations, such as FEMA Hazard Mitigation and FEMA Public Assistance, both of which require a 25% local match.
CDBG-DR projects may include the following; however, it should be noted that projects are subject to what is allowed by the applicable Federal Register Notice – the publication that governs the specific CDBG-DR award:
- Housing recovery;
- Restore, develop, replace, and/or improve housing (new construction, rehabilitation, single or multi-family, owner or rental);
- Provide other housing assistance services;
- Offer buyouts of damaged or threatened properties;
- Assist in relocation of persons and households;
- Senior or special needs housing;
- Rebuild or replace infrastructure and public facilities;
- Roads, bridges, stormwater management systems;
- Waterlines, electric service;
- Community centers, schools, shelters, parks;
- Assistance to affected business owners;
- Address job losses, impacts to tax revenues;
- Job training and workforce development;
- Loans and grants to businesses;
- Improvements to commercial and rental districts.
A number of activities are considered ineligible for CDBG-DR funds, including:
- Projects that do not correspond to disaster-related impacts;
Restrictions as identified in the appropriation law;
Ineligible per CDBG regulations unless waived, e.g. vertical construction;
Does not meet national CDBG objectives;
HUD policies may restrict the type of projects allowed, e.g. facilities in Lava Hazard Zones 1 & 2.
More information on HUD's CDBG-DR Program can be found here.
The County will receive $83.84 million through the Community Development Block Grant-Disaster Recovery program offered by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Release of funds requires completion of an Action Plan and a Grant Agreement, among other steps. More information can be found here.
Eligible state or local governments are allocated funds through a Congressional appropriation, but must also submit a variety of forms and documents to obtain access to these funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Those include:
- A Certification Plan, which shows that the state or local government has the systems and processes in place to manage grant funds and guard against duplication of benefits, fraud and abuse.
- An Implementation Plan, which details that the state or local government has a plan to build the additional staffing capacity needed to implement the grant funds.
- An Action Plan, which details the disaster impacts, unmet needs, programs and projects identified for grant implementation.
- Public Comment Period. The applicant is required to make the Action Plan available for public review and comment.
- Action Plan Approval. HUD must accept and approve the Action Plan.
- Grant Agreement. The awardee and HUD execute a grant agreement detailing disbursement of grant funds and monthly reporting requirements.
- DRGR Plan. A detailed spending plan is uploaded to HUD's grant management platform for approval prior to the initial draw down of CDBG-DR funds.
HUD published a notice in the Federal Register on Jan. 27 for CDBG-DR funding, including the County's portion. Following the publishing of the notice, and an extension granted by HUD to all recipients, the County has until Aug. 31 to submit its Action Plan.
A 2013 amendment to the Stafford Act added Section 428, which authorizes "alternative procedures" under the Federal Emergency Management Agency Public Assistance Program.
Funding authorized through this program can be used to replace infrastructure impacted by a disaster or for alternative infrastructure projects. This flexibility allows applicants to use funds in a way that best meets their needs for recovery, long-term resiliency and future preparedness.
Hawai‘i County is seeking FEMA 428 money for road, water and park infrastructure projects. FEMA funds require a 25% County match. As of March 2020, funding has been approved for road and water infrastructure.
The County is in the process of creating a voluntary buyout program as a means to assist residents with relocating away from the disaster area and to reduce risk from future eruptions on Kilauea's lower East Rift Zone. Buyout programs are used to mitigate risk from other natural disasters, such as floods and fires.
The County is working to secure Federal funding to finance the program and will publicize opportunities for individuals to apply when the process is established.
Funding sources being pursued include the Community Development Block Grant-Disaster Recovery program offered through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
The County anticipates using pre-disaster value as the basis for determining the amount offered through a buyout program. Insurance payouts and other forms of disaster aid may deducted to ensure no duplication of funds. It's unknown at this time when a buyout program could be started or when funds to support it would be received.
According to HVO, lava flows from the 2018 eruption could take years just to fully solidify, depending on the thickness. Lava flows are considered solid when they reach a temperature of 1,560 degrees Fahrenheit.
Preliminary analyses of the 2018 LERZ eruption flow thicknesses, suggest that the average flow thickness is around 10–15 m (33–50 ft). Based on the cooling rate calculation, it could take roughly 8 months to 1.5 years for flows of these thicknesses to solidify.
Solidification of flows ranging 20–30 m (65–100 ft) thick could take about 2.5–6 years. The thickest LERZ flows on land, which are approximately 55 m (180 ft) thick, may take roughly 20 years to reach a completely solid state.
While the surface of the flow field is cool to the touch, temperatures can remain hot enough underneath to produce steam. Flows of between 10-15 meters (33-50 feet) thick could take 3-4 years to cool below the boiling point of 100 degrees Celsius (212 degrees Fahrenheit) at all depths, according to an HVO model that estimates the impacts of rainfall on cooling. A flow that is 25 meters (82 feet) thick could take 7 years to get below the boiling point all the way through, under that model.
- Verified impacts from the 2018 Kīlauea eruption include:
- 13.7 square miles or 8,488 acres inundated with lava
- 875 acres new land created along shoreline
- 500 acres of forest reserve destroyed
- 80 anchialine pools inundated
- Loss of Kapoho Bay and Wai‘ōpae Tidepools Marine Life Conservation
- Pu’ala’a low-land rainforest and historic fishing village destroyed
- Ahalanui Beach Park destroyed
- Kīlauea summit collapse
- Approximately 1 cubic kilometer of lava erupted; two-thirds from Fissure 8
- 1,770 total parcels impacted
- 1,579 inundated parcels
- 612 residences destroyed
- 111 "other" structures destroyed
- 39 inundated agricultural lots
- 19 homes remaining in isolation
- 808 vacant parcels inundated
- Estimated 3,000 residents initially displaced during eruption
- $296 million in home losses
- Estimated $236.5 million in damages to public infrastructure.
- 32.3 miles of roads inundated, including nearly 13 miles of public roads.
- 14.5 miles of waterlines destroyed.
- Kua O Ka Lā Public Charter School destroyed.
- 900 utility poles destroyed
- 2 geothermal wells inundated; 1 isolated
- 1 electrical substation isolated
- 1 water well isolated
- 2,950 jobs lost
- $415 million in revenue lost inland-wide
- Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park closure: $99.4 million in economic loss
- $27.9 million farm losses resulting in decreased agriculture and floriculture production
- Decreased tourism revenue and adjustments to marketing and products
Infrastructure & Rebuilding
Pohoiki Road is the next priority for restoration. The County is awaiting for a Notice to Proceed from the Federal Emergency Management Agency in order to begin construction. No timeline for restoration is available at this time.
About 2.4 miles of the road was covered during the eruption.
- In total, 3.16 miles of Highway 132 was covered by lava. The Department of Public Works began to re-establish access on June 10, 2019, with funding from the Federal Highway Administration. The road reopened on Nov. 27, 2019. For more detail, visit Road Access.
Lighthouse Road provides access to Kumukahi, the eastern most point in Hawaii. The area includes additional natural and cultural resources, such as a newly formed beach and burials.
About 700 feet of Lighthouse Road was covered by lava and the road remains closed at this time.
As part of the recovery planning process, the County is exploring ways to provide managed access to this area in order to protect natural and cultural resources and public safety. No decisions regarding restoration of the road have been made.
Lava from the 2018 Kīlauea eruption covered about 4 miles of Highway 137.
In December 2018, the County opened a temporary road over less than 1 mile of lava flows covering the highway near MacKenzie State Recreation Area. This provided access to Isaac Hale Beach Park and some private lands in the area.
The County is assessing whether to restore Highway 137, or which parts to restore, as part of the recovery planning process. That includes consultation with the Disaster Recovery Task Force.
The 2018 Kīlauea eruption covered about 13 miles of public roads in lower Puna.
- Work to restore Highway 132 was completed in November 2019. Funding was provided by the Federal Highway Administration.
- A temporary road was opened over some of the lava flows crossing Highway 137 in late 2018 to restore access to Isaac Hale Beach Park.
- Hawaiʻi County has reached an agreement with the Federal Emergency Management Agency for funding to restore or replace other impacted public roads under Section 428 of the agency’s Public Assistance program. FEMA would cover 75% of the costs.
- Pohoiki Road is the next priority for restoration. Additional roads are under evaluation.
The Hawai‘i County Department of Water Supply (DWS) lost use of two reservoirs and about 14.5 miles of pipeline as a result of the 2018 Kīlauea eruption. The water line went to Isaac Hale Beach Park via Pohoiki Road and followed Highway 137 to the Kapoho subdivisions, which were inundated.
Due to the ongoing presence of high temperatures, and changes in topography, DWS has no plans at this time to restore the water pipes since the infrastructure will not survive those conditions. Testing of a private well near Pohoiki Road showed the water to be brackish and not suitable for consumption or use at Isaac Hale Beach Park.
A damage assessment placed the cost of replacing the lost infrastructure at about $40 million. The Federal Emergency Management Agency is covering 75% of that amount, or about $30 million. DWS is assessing what projects should be funded with that money in coordination with the recovery planning process.
There are three main documents being produced to guide recovery following the 2018 Kīlauea eruption: a Recovery Strategic Plan, Volcanic Risk Assessment, and an Economic Recovery Plan. Plans are produced with the help of community input, in addition to consultants who provide technical assistance.
What do the plans do?
The Recovery Strategic Plan facilitates recovery in the short and long term, and will identify recovery strategies and projects that will support impacted areas while mitigating risks from volcanic hazards.
The Volcanic Risk Assessment takes a look at all volcanic hazards across Hawai‘i Island and identifies recommendations for mitigation. The risk assessment will help inform the recovery plan.
The Economic Recovery Plan looks at economic damages caused by the 2018 eruption and Hurricane Lane and provides recommendations for improving the economy of Puna and the island as a whole.
The recovery management structure and decision-making framework was designed to support both planning and implementation phases of recovery.
The process includes a disaster recovery task force – an advisory group consisting of representatives from the County administration, County Council, and Community members – that is responsible for vetting proposed recovery strategies, which will be decided upon by the administration or County Council. Task Force members are assigned as co-chairs for different recovery support function working groups. These are recovery categories outlined by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
A Housing Agency consisting of members of the County Council will oversee adoption of an Action Plan for the use of Community Development Block Grant-Disaster Recovery funds provided by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
For more information on the planning process, visit the planning page.
Recovery is a long-term, iterative process – meaning that recovery takes place in multiple phases, with each phase informing activities in subsequent phases. Recovery can take anywhere from 5-10 years, depending on the scale and duration of the disaster.
The 2018 Kīlauea Eruption in the Lower East Rift Zone was unprecedented in scale and speed, resulting in extensive displacement of families and businesses, and the disruption of businesses throughout the Island of Hawaiʻi.
Recovery began in June 2018 and will involve continuing efforts to meet immediate and near-term needs, as well as long-term planning and implementation.
Events and impacts of this magnitude result in a "new normal" and present an opportunity to refresh and renew families, communities, and the environment.
Trespassers are entering my property to view the new lava fields and features or to cross the lava to access the coastline. What should I do to protect myself and my property from trespassers and liability?
There are a few actions you can take to protect your property from trespassers and liability:
- Private property should be clearly marked with 'No Trespassing' signs.
- Reports of trespassing should be reported promptly to the police along with available evidence and a request to press charges.
- Consult with an attorney to understand the extent of your liabilities and possible options.
- Disaster recovery takes place after an emergency and is characterized by actions taken to return to normalcy, secure financial assistance to pay for repairs, and restore individual and collective well-being. During recovery, it is also important to identify and implement actions to prepare for and mitigate (lessen) the effects of future disasters.
Given there is no current emergency proclamation with specific prohibitions, all activities fall under laws and regulations that normally apply.
In this case, flight regulations are subject to the Federal Aviation Administration drone rules and regulations, and individual property rights regulate where drones can take off and land.
Visitors and members of the press are advised to obtain the proper permissions before flying drones over the affected area.
Hawaiʻi Island is comprised of 5 (five) volcanoes:
- Kīlauea (active, last eruption: 2018)
- Mauna Loa (active, last eruption: 1984)
- Hualalai (active, last eruption: 1801)
- Mauna Kea (dormant)
- Kohala (extinct)